£175,000 - £225,000 GBP | Not Sold
| London, United Kingdom
- Built for exhibition at the 1936 Olympia Motor Show by coachbuilder Mayfair
- Ordered new by the actress and singer, Frances Day, but never delivered to the American
- The recipient of an exacting five-year restoration to concours standard with costs exceeding €500,000
- Starred at the 2023 Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace; an ideal contender for exhibition at similar events
- Accompanied by a FIVA Identity Card plus copies of its factory build sheet and “buff” logbook
While W.O. Bentley’s name might now be synonymous with his own eponymous marque, the great designer and engineer had great influence on other prominent English automotive manufacturers of the day—not least Lagonda. W.O. joined the enterprise at the persuasion of Alan P. Good, who had newly acquired rights to the Lagonda brand, and Bentley brought some of his team with him. The first production Lagonda to be touched by the brilliance of W.O. was the LG45.
The successor to the M45, the LG45 was built around the same highly capable, competition-proven 4.5-litre Meadows inline-six engine, but featured refinements such as synchromesh gears and a central lubrication system. Introduced in 1936, the public and motoring press alike immediately recognised the model’s merits, with British publication The Autocar reporting that the LG45 offered “all the performance that anyone can reasonably require, and at the same time has been silenced, smoothed out and made a much more comfortable car, so that in comparison with the earlier versions it is hardly recognisable on first driving it.” The LG45 enjoyed a short production run with 278 chassis produced for configuration by various coachbuilders of the era.
The Lagonda LG45 offered here, chassis 12145, is a special example of the marque and model. The copy of the car’s factory build sheet (available to view in the history file) notes that the chassis was ordered on 14 April 1936 for Kevil-Davis & March, a dealership serving London and the Home Counties. The LG45 was to be bodied by Mayfair for exhibition on the coachbuilder’s stand at the 1936 Olympia Motor Show, configured as a two-door Coupé de Ville. The car was configured to the wishes of actress and singer, Frances Day, who requested that the Lagonda was finished in a bright orange colour. The dealership refused, however, insisting on the black and grey colours that the car is shown in today. Ms Day also specified the car with a piano black dashboard and curtains on the rear window, together with interior mirrors and cigarette lighters fitted in the rear cabin. The luggage compartment was expandable, on Ms Day’s request, as one of two such configurations made by Mayfair.
The car was never delivered to the American, though, and her name does not appear on any documentation, having thought to have had a change of heart after making the order. Instead, the Lagonda later appeared at the Paris Motor Show, and its first two British owners each held onto the car for many years. Its first, Frederic Nevil Shimwell Melland, kept the car until 1950 when RAF Wing Commander Theodore D. Misselbrook acquired the Coupé de Ville. He retained the car until 1977, when it was exported to Southern California. Its time in the United States is not documented and little is known about how the car was used, but in 2014 it was acquired by a prominent dealer, who showed the Lagonda in largely original condition yet requiring restoration.
Soon after, the LG45 was returned to Europe with a new buyer, and the process of a painstaking five-year restoration was begun. The numerous invoices on file detail the expenditure of the restoration, which exceeded €500,000 in costs. Bidders are encouraged to review the history file to survey the many itemised bills from various workshops and orders for parts that made up the extensive recommissioning of the car.
Today, the car is presented in exceptional condition and is accompanied by its FIVA Identity Card, further to copies of its factory build sheet and “buff” logbook that add to the impressive trail of paperwork. The Lagonda was exhibited at the 2023 Concours of Elegance and would make a fine companion for future events and tours.